Cyberthreats Children Face During Summer Vacation: A Parent’s Guide to Online Safety


June 21, 2024

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Cyberthreats Children Face During Summer Vacation: A Parent’s Guide to Online Safety

The eagerly awaited summer break is here for millions of kids around the world who spend this time relaxing, exploring, and having plain old fun.

Although school may not be in session, cybercriminals and other digital miscreants are. More free time means kids become more vulnerable to online threats, and parents need to keep their eye on the ball so their young ones are always cyber-ready.

In this article, we focus on the most common cyber threats that kids of all ages face during the summer and provide parents with practical safety tips to keep everyone safe.

Why Are Kids More Vulnerable to Cyberthreats in Summer?

  1. Increased Screen Time. Summer vacation doesn’t necessarily mean free time for parents. Conversely, children may be left with older siblings or other family members who don’t necessarily set healthy screen time. Kids may spend more hours online, gaming and using social media. This extended exposure increases the likelihood of encountering cyberthreats.
  2. Reduced Supervision. Whether you’re taking time off, working from home, or are a stay-at-home parent full-time, the summer months often lead to reduced supervision of children's online activities.
  3. Seeking Social Interactions. Kids on summer break may also feel the need to socialize with their friends from school or seek socializing on online platforms, which exponentially increases their exposure to potential cyberbullying, online predators, and inappropriate content.
  4. Exploration and Curiosity. Children are naturally curious, and the freedom that comes with summer can lead them to explore new websites, apps, and online communities that they wouldn't typically access during the school year. This can also lead them into dangerous online territories.

Common Cyberthreats Children Face

  1. Cyberbullying. Spending more time online, especially on social media and gaming platforms, makes them more susceptible to online harassment and bullying.

Related: Stop Cyberbullying Day: The Proactive Role of Guardians in Preventing Cyberbullying

  1. Online Predators. Malicious people often target children through social media, gaming platforms, and chat rooms by disguising themselves as friendly individuals (even of the same age) to lure them into hazardous situations, both online and offline.
  2. Inappropriate Content. The internet is filled with inappropriate content that may include violent videos, explicit material, and hate speech, which can harm their mental and emotional wellbeing.
  3. Phishing and Scams. Children also make convenient targets for scams and scammers. They may receive scam emails, messages or texts that trick them into sharing personal information or downloading malicious software onto devices in their household.
  4. Invasion of Privacy. Parents aren’t usually aware of all their kids' apps and websites. These applications and platforms, however, may collect personal information from users or ask them to share sensitive data that can be exploited by digital miscreants – including their age, location and phone number.

Steps Parents Can Take to Ensure Online Safety

  1. Establish Basic Rules. Talk to your kids and establish clear guidelines for internet use, screen time limits, and appropriate behavior online. Emphasize the importance of never sharing personal information and never interacting with strangers online. Other rules you may want to stick to include always asking permission if they're going to install a new game or app, never authorizing in-app payments, or sharing any other sensitive information (including photos and videos)
  2. Use Parental Control Software. Use parental control software to monitor and restrict your child's access to specific websites and apps, especially if your child is under the age of 13.
  3. Educate About Cyberthreats. Converse openly with your kids about the dangers and teach them how to recognize and avoid internet threats.
  4. Use Security and Privacy Tools. Comprehensive security solutions can help you tackle online security challenges and keep you and your family safe from threats.

How Bitdefender Can Help:

· Award-winning antivirus and antimalware detection stops malicious software from compromising the security of your device, data, and finances

· Anti-phishing and anti-fraud detection protects against phony websites and fraud

· VPN and Password Manager boosts privacy and offers an easy way to set robust passwords to keep your kids’ online accounts safe.

· Webcam protection and microphone monitor lets you check what apps can access your child’s device monitor or when an app wants access to their webcam.

· Email Protection helps you avoid phishing attempts, scam emails, or other dangerous emails.

· Parental Controls lets you easily filter inappropriate content and manage your child’s internet time.

· A trusty scam detector chatbot available 24/7 helps thwart scams and scammers with an added educational layer that can genuinely improve the scam awareness of your entire family. Use Bitdefender Scamio, our AI-powered tool dedicated to identify and avoid potential scams. When unsure about an email, message or online proposal, you can check it with Scamio on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or a web browser for free!

Read more about our security solutions and plans, here.

  1. Monitor Social Media Accounts. If your child uses social media, regularly check for signs of cyberbullying, inappropriate content or suspicious interactions.
  2. Encourage Open Communication. Create a safe environment where your children feel comfortable discussing online issues.
  3. Review Privacy Settings. Set the privacy settings for all your child’s online accounts to the highest level to ensure they cannot be contacted by individuals who are not on their friend list or trusted contacts, etc.
  4. Stay Involved. Show interest in the games and websites your child uses regularly so you can better understand their online behavior and potential risks.




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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